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John Brown

November 27, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

John Brown was a leading figure in the …read more

Source: HISTORY

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The Rationale and Contours of an Amicable Transatlantic Security Divorce

November 27, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

French President Emmanuel Macron created a huge stir on both sides of the Atlantic in early November when he stated that NATO was experiencing “brain death.” This was not a casual, off-hand comment on his part. When reporters asked Macron whether he still believed in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, under which an attack on one member is considered an attack on all, he answered: “I don’t know.” Indeed, Macron has been in the vanguard of efforts for several years to create an independent “Europeans only” defense capability through the European Union, a move that would, at a minimum, greatly dilute NATO’s primacy regarding transatlantic security issues. The drive to give the EU a military dimension reflects declining French confidence in NATO’s unity and the reliability of Washington’s continued willingness to be democratic Europe’s security shield.

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Other European leaders, most notably German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, criticized Macron’s comment and disputed his assessment. “When France talks about more European cooperation in defense, they’re talking about strategic autonomy. The French are seeking strong European cooperation to replace NATO,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said. She asserted that instead of replacing the Alliance, Germany wanted to strengthen “NATO’s European pillar.”

It is highly probable that statements emerging from future NATO gatherings will echo the German government’s position, rather than French views. However, Macron is correct. US and European perspectives and interests on a variety of important strategic issues continue to drift apart, and no quantity of the usual upbeat clichés about “enduring Alliance solidarity” at the summit will alter that reality. Members must abandon the obsolete notion that American and European interests are compatible to the point of being nearly congruent. Such a belief was exaggerated even during the Cold War when America and its European allies faced a mutual existential threat in the form of the totalitarian Soviet Union. It is an absurd fiction today in a much more diverse and less dire security environment.

European publics, even more than their American counterparts, are implicitly recognizing the new reality. A September 2019 report from the European Council on Foreign Relations, surveying 60,000 people in 14 European Union countries, confirmed that point. The desire for independence and neutrality was evident even with respect to policy toward Russia. When asked “Whose side should your …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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When The Deep State Bullied Reagan’s Foreign Policy Chief

November 27, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

The testimony of several witnesses during the current impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives highlighted one important and ominous point. Ambassador William B. Taylor, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George P. Kent, and others made it clear that they did not object merely to President Trump’s controversial phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump appeared to seek a quid pro quo. No, they saw Trump’s entire Ukraine policy as insufficiently hardline and therefore unacceptable.

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Indeed, Taylor and Kent seemed to think it was improper for the president to change any aspect of a staunchly supportive U.S. policy toward Kiev and a correspondingly hostile policy toward Russia. Far from being loyal subordinates executing the White House’s vision, they opposed the president’s approach and anointed themselves as guardians of appropriate policy.

Unfortunately, such behavior on the part of foreign policy careerists is far from new; it has merely become more pervasive and brazen during the Trump years. This is indicative of what Trump’s supporters—and others—contend is a campaign by the “deep state,” meaning career officials in the foreign policy bureaucracy and the intelligence agencies, to undermine the president’s foreign policy. Defenders of Taylor, Kent, and other Trump opponents within the foreign policy apparatus either praise them as patriotic dissenters or scoff at the notion that a deep state even exists.

It is extraordinarily naïve to assert that powerful bureaucracies and their key personnel do not protect their institutional interests, push policies in directions they prefer, and attempt to dilute, delay, or defeat initiatives they oppose. Such behavior is a long-standing characteristic of entrenched institutions.

An episode from Ronald Reagan’s presidency illustrates how the CIA seeks to manipulate policy. The agency’s target was Secretary of State George Shultz, who was then applying the Reagan Doctrine and providing U.S. aid to anti-communist rebels in the Third World. Shultz was the chief intellectual architect of the Reagan Doctrine, which he presented in detail during a February 1985 speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. But that intellectual pedigree did not shield him from attempted policy sabotage.

Despite his overall enthusiasm for the Reagan Doctrine in places such as Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Angola, Shultz drew the line at supporting some particularly unsavory alleged freedom fighters. He was …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Liz Warren’s Latest Lie Only Deepens Her Dilemma on Education

November 27, 2019 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis

Corey A. DeAngelis

Sometimes it’s best to walk away from a debate — to take the L, as the kids say. Elizabeth Warren probably wishes she would have followed that sage advice. But now she is caught in a big education policy dilemma. And a lie.

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The Massachusetts progressive hosted a campaign rally at a historically black college in Atlanta recently. Yet 10 minutes into her speech, a group of black protesters from the Powerful Parent Network interrupted her, wanting to be heard. The parents, who support educational choice for disadvantaged families, chanted, “Our children, our choice!”

The group takes issue with Warren’s radically anti-choice education plan, which would ban for-profit charter schools, end federal funding for new charters and make it more difficult to open them. She would also end vouchers and tax-credit scholarships that allow low-income families unhappy with their public schools to send their children to private ones.

According to a 2019 Education Next poll, 66 percent of African Americans support private-school vouchers to low-income families, and 55 percent support public charter schools.

Progressives like Warren claim to want to help low-income families and minorities, yet they fight tooth and talon against educational choice. Predictably, liberal activists at the Warren rally shouted down the black families, and left-wing journalists immediately delved into conspiracy theorizing about the Powerful Parent Network’s funding sources.

To her credit, Warren met with the parent group after the event. But she only made things worse for herself.

Seventeen minutes of the conversation were recorded live by a member of the parent group, Sunny Thomas, and are now on the internet for everyone to see. The recorded discussion is mostly among the senator, Howard Fuller, a civil rights activist and academic, and Sarah Carpenter, a member of the parent group.

During their conversation, Warren argued that public schools just needed more money. Fuller explained that more money doesn’t matter in education — when “that money is going down the drain.”

Warren made Fuller’s point for him by saying, “I got an increase in child care development block grants. … I told all of my folks back in Massachusetts, ‘You’re going to get an 85 percent raise’ at all of our little-child development centers. You know how much they got? Zero! Somehow it all went to the state government and never …read more

Source: OP-EDS